Snack Recommendations Of Different Countries According To Nutrition Policy And Insufficiencies
Different dietary guidelines are issued and followed in different countries that differentiates snacks and snack foods. This difference is mentioned in some of them while most of the others do not have any such differentiations.
However, most of these guidelines caution the general public against consuming a few specific types of foods as their snacks such as:
- Savory and
- Salty items.
However, in most of the cases there is no suggestion provided for any health-promoting alternatives. Rather, these guidelines focus more on salt, sugar, and fat content in the food items that people generally take as snacks. With no proper or specific guidelines to choose real ‘healthy’ snacks, all these guidelines simply advice people to choose their food items ‘wisely,’ which seldom serve the purpose or solve the problem of the general public.
- However, there are a few specific guidelines of a few countries that suggest only nuts, legumes, and seeds for snacks.
- On the other hand, there are a few that says that the most appropriate snack items are milk, yogurt, nuts, and seeds.
Recommendations on snacks
People of different countries have different culture and food habits, biological needs and different motivations which are the primary factors that determine the type of foods people prefer to have as snacks. Accordingly, governments of different countries have taken the diversity in consideration and have formulated a specific list of recommendations of snacks and snacking according to the dietary requirements and guidelines, nutrition policies and nutritional inefficiencies. Here it is in alphabetical order:
- Australia: The Australian Dietary Guidelines define snacks as a discretionary category of foods or ‘snack foods’ that is meant to be consumed at specific times limited portions. According to this guideline, the food items that can be eaten as snacks include nuts, seeds and legumes.
- Brazil: The Dietary Guidelines of Brazil typically discourage snacking between meals. However, it suggests that people needing higher energy may consume small portions of fruits, milk, nuts or yogurt.
- Canada: The Food Guide of Canada recommends salty snacks in limited amounts as well as eating vegetables and fruits when people want to snack. However, for young women the guide suggests taking fruit and yogurt for snacks.
- England: The National Health Service of England on the other hand recommends snacking on dry fruits in the evening. This is done to encourage people to eat more fruits. It also recommends fresh fruit and nuts to be taken as snacks. The website of The National Health Service also provides suggestions for several low-calorie snacks.
- France: According to the Le Guide Alimentaire Pour Tous, people are encouraged to take regular snacks rather than eat mindlessly. It also discourages snacking continuously. The guide recommends milk, yogurt, fruit and fruit juice, vegetables, and some bread with butter or jam as the perfect food for snack.
- Greece: According to their guide, the Greeks are recommended to eat nuts, seeds, and fruit as snacks so along as the energy intake does not outdo energy expenditure.
- Greenland: The food guide of Greenland recommends snack foods to be limited to one per week. It also says that it should be small and healthful and include food items such as a piece of fruit, vegetable, dried fish or crisp bread between meals.
- Nordic countries: According to the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations snack foods should be limited due to the high salt, sugar and fat content.
- Oman: According to the Omani Guide to Healthy Eating, it is suggested that Omani people should choose their snack items wisely because these are considered to be a major source of fat. It suggests people take nutrient-dense foods that have low calorie.
- Sweden: The Swedish Nutrition Recommendations suggests that people may include 2 or 3 snacks every day as a part of their healthful diet.
- Switzerland: The Swiss guide provides a whole page of healthy snack options that include food items such as fruits, vegetables, cheese, milk, whole-grain breads, yogurt, and nuts. It however recommends people to go against salty snacks, sweets and fatty foods.
Last but not least, the people of the United States follow specific guidelines of two specific bodies.
According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans it is recommended that people should have raw cut-up vegetables as well as fruits as their snacks.
On the other hand, the 2015 Scientific Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recommends reducing snack food intake. This is because they think snacks do more harm than good as it contributes to high energy, saturated fat and sugar intake.
It also expresses its concerns over the fact that snacks tend to be far less nutrient dense as compared to actual meals. Therefore, it suggests people to choose ‘smart’ snacks.
Nutrient insufficiency factor
All these guidelines however, do not provide any clear distinction between snacks and snack foods. Nevertheless, these guidelines of different countries can act as models for other countries that will help them to develop better snacking recommendations. This will help all the countries in this world to deal with the nutrient insufficiencies in a much better way and may even formulate specific snack foods.
Though few countries already recommend specific food items to be taken as snacks, these countries with their official dietary guidelines seems to have more population-specific recommendations of food items that can be included in the diet based on certain nutrients.
Snack foods that are rich in essential nutrients that depend on the pre-existing snack likings of different populaces will surely contribute in facilitating more nutrient-dense diets that will promote health. According to the DGA guidelines, these types of food items should be rich in several essential nutrients such as:
- Dietary fiber and
- Vitamin D.
These are considered as the “nutrients of concern” because low intake of these may cause serious health issues. Therefore, make sure that you include more fruits, nuts, vegetables, legumes and whole grain foods in your diet chart.